Why all women are amazing at 40 and beyond
-May 1, Caroline Blight, Living -
Gwyneth Paltrow is the poster girl for healthy beauty. Not only is she looking better than ever and positively glowing at 46, she cannot contain her joy for how wonderful getting older really is. “By 40, all women are amazing,” she says. “If you haven’t taken all of life’s incredible knocks and disappointments and used them to become a fully integrated, self-expressing person by the time you’re 40, then what can I tell you?”
On those says we feel a little more lined than we would like or less spritely when getting out of bed, it’s worth asking ‘What would Gwyneth say?’ to make things a little better!
Why your 40s are a new beginning
Gwyneth takes a positive perspective on the passing of the years. After years of her worth being placed according to the way she looked, there was a certain liberation when that passed.
“I think we’re all taught that looks are something we have to rely on and in some ways are a measure of our worth,” she explains. “We hang onto the messaging until you start to get wrinkles and then you’re like, “Oh, wait a minute….”
Her wake-up call came when she realised the way in which she presented herself to the world was somewhat different to how she was seen, “I was driving somewhere and this really attractive young guy was next to me in his car, he was probably 28, and I looked at him and literally it was like he looked right past me!” Gwyneth recalls. “Like there was no, “There’s a pretty girl in that car.” I was like, “Holy sh*t, he just saw a middle-aged lady in a car!” I swear it was so fascinating and I was like “Oh. Wait. So, I have to let go of being that person.” And what does that mean? Especially when you’ve been a cultural figure of “prettiness.” So life kind of starts to shift your view and with that comes the shift in the importance of it.” Although she still looks after herself and makes sure her skin and hair is in its best condition, Gwyneth has begun to pursue other avenues, like her lifestyle brand and website Goop, and seems more revealing and happy to speak about her life in interviews.
You really do change at 40
Life begins at 40 – it’s an age old saying and for good reason according to Gwyneth. “At 40, my life changed so much. I think every woman around that time gets this massive software upgrade. You‘re just different. You’re upgraded. For me there were just a bunch of changes I had to make to really be true to myself and really live my happiness.” That is not to say it’s an easy time as some of those choices she felt needed to be made were easy. Courage and a belief in yourself are important qualities which come to the fore too. “You have to be brave and make the choice to do that, to truly accept yourself and love yourself and really forgive yourself for your mis-steps. So it’s been a long interesting road to get to the place where I feel really content and that I really know myself and like myself. I wish they could teach girls to do this when they are 16 instead of 40, but that’s part of life.”
And rather than getting more stuck in her ways, Gwyneth loves the fluidity which her forties have afforded her. “As you grow older everything becomes less binary. You really start to see and appreciate nuance and complexity,” she says. “Many of us, especially as women, grow up in a culture in which there’s a right way to look and a wrong way to look, but I think there’s a really beautiful thing that happens with age, which is that you start to understand and categorize beauty in a different way. You really do see that it’s an internal process. Accepting yourself and feeling beautiful really has so little to do with the outside and with measurable pulchritude. If you really like yourself, you really feel beautiful. For a lot of women, life forces us into that point of view, but it’s such a beautiful lesson to be forced into. We do want to maintain our best physical selves, not to be sexually desirable to a 30-year-old man for the rest of our lives, but for our own self-esteem and our own relationships and our own lives.”
In fact she believes that seeing your own beauty than having it validated by others is a wonderful way to feel. “I think the 40s are such a gift, and I feel more beautiful now than I did 10 years ago or 20 years ago. I would never want to go back. I was a mess in my 20s. I’m so thankful to be where I am. I think even though physically I don’t look like I did when I was 25, I feel beautiful because I feel like myself,” she adds.
The signs of ageing should be cherished
Unlike some Hollywood stars who are keen to erase the signs of ageing, Gwyneth instead embraces them. She takes the view that grey hairs and wrinkles are there to be appreciated and celebrated. “Of course I have wrinkles [and] grey hair. But I genuinely love it. This is who I am!” she says. “I think it’s incredibly sexy. And I wouldn’t want to erase years off my face or to travel back in time for anything.I earned these grey hairs, plus there are things you can do about it. A little hair colour…I’m not afraid of getting older.”